Growing up, I can remember grownups all around me asking:

“Don’t you want to grow up to be successful?”

“Sure,” I thought to myself. But what does that really mean? One thing I can say for sure is that success means different things to different people, just as different businesses need to look at varying KPIs to monitor how well they’re performing. But if you don’t know where to start or what to look for, how can you determine if a PR campaign is a success?

So, what does success really mean when it comes to PR? Here are a couple KPIs that can help you decide if your latest campaign was worth it:

Increased Website Traffic

There are no coincidences.

Notice a spike in website visits after some recently published news? A bump in website traffic is a pretty good indicator on whether or not your latest PR campaign has had an impact.

Look at the date your press release was released, and compare that to your website’s daily traffic stats. Was it a minor spike? A huge spike? You can make plenty of determinations based on what you see in the data.

A big spike may mean that your news resonated with the audience you were targeting. Now you have a sense of direction on the messaging and types of news announcements are making an impact on your audience.

There are a lot of businesses looking to increase traffic to their website, promote brand awareness, and all that good stuff. So a smaller or no spike can be discouraging. But it’s good in a way that at least you have a starting point on how you can tweak and fine tune your wording in order to discover the right message to the right audience at the right time.

Increased Downloads

(Nothing to click here, btw.)

Perhaps your company just released a new app. Or maybe a thought leadership article in the form of a PDF.

It’s super critical to make sure the messaging is on point to get people to be open to download something. A lag in downloads shows areas that may need improving:

  • Is enough traffic getting routed to the download page?
  • Is the design/messaging resonating with the audience?
  • Does the deliverable offer enough to convince them to download?

Data points like these are invaluable for businesses. A PR campaign that coincides with an increase in downloads is good evidence that you’re doing something right.

Increased Social Media Engagement

No matter what business you’re in, a bump in social media engagement following a news release should be considered a success.

Big corporations shell out millions of dollars to influencers for the sole purpose of their engagement levels. If you’re able to achieve that, even on a smaller scale with owned media: that’s a win in my book.

Again, you’ll have a good starting point on which to model future posts, narrow your demographics, and get a better understanding of what your audience cares about.

Increased Sales

The most glaringly obvious KPI to determine if your PR campaign was a success? You guessed it:

Increased sales.

There’s no denying that if you can prove your PR campaign had a significant impact on your company’s bottom line, you’ve hit a home run.

The increase in sales is a benefit in itself, but the revelations from the data acquired is icing on the cake:

  • The right message
  • The right audience
  • The right timing

Now it’s just a matter of maintaining the same level quality of content across different mediums to see what sticks and what doesn’t.

To Sum it All Up

The short answer is that success is really determined by you, the business owner. Every business is unique and has a different set of parameters that determine its success. But remember—the key is managing expectations.

Just like there’s no such thing as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, going for a home run right off of the bat often leads to dashed hopes and discouragement.

It’s important to remember that a lot of the time, success comes from hard work, and smaller, consistent wins that help to build the confidence to achieve more lofty goals.